The Panama Papers, Vladimir Putin, and the Clintons

The Panama Papers are the records of a law firm that specializes in setting up secret bank accounts, offering tax havens and money-laundering services to the rich, famous, and corrupt.  Investigators are still combing through those recently-leaked documents.

But one thing that has come out is a connection between the Vladimir Putin-controlled Russian bank whose subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere are involved in these shady dealings, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, and her chief fundraiser, his brother Tony Podesta. [Read more…]

The strongman syndrome

Russian president Vladimir Putin has been praising Donald Trump, who has been returning the favor.   When it was brought up that Putin has a habit of killing his critics, Trump said that our country also does a lot of killing.  (See details after the jump.)

It isn’t just that the two have a mutual admiration society going.  David Ignatius says that Trump is America’s Putin.

I think what we are seeing is the strongman syndrome.  Democracies, by their nature, make for weak central governments and so have trouble “getting things done.”   So when things get bad, at some point, the very people who constitute the democracy, turn to a “strongman” to solve their problems, even though he will also do away with their rights.

This happened with the Greek democracy and the Roman Republic.  It happened when the French revolution turned to Napoleon and when the Russian revolution turned to Stalin.  It happened again after the fall of Communism, when the Russian people turned away from the messy democracy they had been trying in favor of the authoritarian Putin.  It happens regularly in Latin America.  Isn’t this what is happening in this country with the popularity of Donald Trump? [Read more…]

Donald Trump and the Führerprinzip

A strong leader will rise up to solve all of our problems by sheer force of his will.  We easily succumb to that kind of promise in businesses and even in churches.  And even in national governments.  This trust in an all-powerful leader is called Führerprinzip.  Yes, it was refined in Nazi Germany, but it has manifested itself ever since in popular movements that hand over power to a dictator.  But also in kinder and gentler forms of authoritarians and in a particular kind of political superstition that puts the person of the leader over any particular policies, ideologies, Constitutional processes, or limits on government.

The leader that people are looking to today is Donald Trump.  Is he that kind of leader?  Jeffrey Tucker is arguing that “Trumpism” is a revival of fascism.  Not the insult that the left freely throws around, but an actual return of the political and economic ideology that was rampant in the 1930s, not just in Germany,  Italy, and Spain but with advocates in virtually every European nation.  (I’ve written about what those fascists believed.  There is more to it than Mr. Tucker gives here, but it’s true that fascism is not just a shorthand term for evil, but an actual thing, which did not disappear with the end of World War II.)

Another article applies the Führerprinzip in another, though related way, arguing that Donald Trump is America’s Vladimir Putin (who has also been described as a Russian fascist).  See excerpts from the Fascism and Putin arguments after the jump.  Do you think Trump rises to the level of that kind of leader?  Those of you who like Trump, how would you defend him from these charges? [Read more…]

Putin as conservative?

The word “conservative” means different things in the United States and Europe.  American conservatives tend to value personal liberty, free market economics, and small government.  Europeans call that being “liberal.”  European conservatives tend to hearken back to the good old days of the monarchies, being suspicious of democracy and civil liberties.  Both the European left and the European right favor big government.

Today the European right, which is reportedly poised for big electoral victories, is openly supporting Russia’s Vladimir Putin.  See why after the jump. [Read more…]

Russia backs off from Ukraine

Russia continues to hold the Crimea peninsula, but Vladimir Putin said that he would not use force against the rest of Ukraine, while reserving the right to do so.  [Read more…]

U.S. & Russia agree on Syria plan

So should Vladimir Putin get the Nobel Peace Prize?  Does this get President Obama out of the mess he was in, turning a fiasco into a victory?

The United States and Russia agreed Saturday on a plan to bring Syrian chemical weapons under international control, a rare diplomatic victory in a brutal civil war that appears to head off a punitive U.S. military strike on Syria in the near future. [Read more…]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X